The right to choose my death

by Youyou417 on February 13, 2017 - 2:40pm

Euthanasia, also known as medical assisted dying, is the practice of taking an action of ending a life to relieve unstoppable the pain and suffering of an individual. There have been heated public debates over the ethical and moral issues euthanasia has brought forth. Based on the social, cultural values as well as religious beliefs, different countries set their own laws either in favor of mercy killing or against it. In most countries today, euthanasia is prohibited or at least not recommended. The Canadian society, on the other hand, promotes the respect of human life and human dignity, with a goal to maximize care and justice for the people that are living with their bodily pain or mental sufferings. Therefore, I believe that euthanasia is ethically and morally right.

To begin with, euthanasia is considered a moral way to kill someone by relieving the person from physically or mentally unbearable pain. The two main classification of euthanasia are voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia is conducted with consent. A person choosing to die asks for help to end his/her life. Involuntary euthanasia is conducted without consent. In this case, the person is unable to make a decision by himself because of mental illness, coma or brain damage, etc. Euthanasia benefits the individual who chooses to end his/her life since it puts an end to the patient’s suffering after medical treatments on incurable diseases. The person involved has the right to be the decision-maker on his life and death. Each individual has the freedom and right to accept and put in term its own death without violating the rule of the society. According to utilitarianism, one self-happiness determines the ethical decision of a moral dilemma. “John Stuart Mill, in his Utilitarianism, states that this primary ethical rule is following this happiness-producing theory” (Utilitarian Ethics). According to his theory, euthanasia brings happiness to most of people since the patients suffering from the illness do not have to endure the pain so they are happy. Therefore, the ethical decision is happiness-oriented and altruistic

According to deontological ethic, Kant suggests that there should be rules imposed on people to guide them to act in the ethical way. “Being an ethical person […] entails being guided by absolute rules, universal laws, and moral principles that hold, without exception, everywhere.” (Ethical Absolutism) In other words, following the rule is a duty for people to act ethically. In light of his theory, human dignity and basic respect are the most essential value to judge if an issue is ethical or not. The categorical imperative also argues “every person should be treated as a person and not as a means to some end”. In a less personal point of view, people are more able to judge and to make an ethical decision. Therefore, practicing euthanasia is ethically wrong since the person involved in terminating another’s life does not at all respect human dignity and human life. Moreover, the idea that euthanasia could be involuntary means that the doctor or the physician should not in the position to deny patients’ right to live and be given the authority to put an end to their lives.

Thus, utilitarianism is the best solution for euthanasia since bringing happiness to the patients would allow them to make the choice on their own.


Work cited:

Merril, John. " Theoretical Foundations ofr Media Ethics". Media Ethics: 345-LPH-MS, Marianopolis College, 13 Feb. 2017, Courspack.

Unger, Walter. "Euthaniasia" Canadian conference, March 2003, Accessed 7 Feb. 2017



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Your article was an enjoyable read, whose use of a first person determiner in the title ignited curiosity from my part. More specifically, the determiner evoked the dilemma one would face if they were to find themselves in a situation where their suffering surmounts the value of their life. Following this train of thought, one would instinctively consider having to allow their loved ones to end their lives due to insurmountable pain. Since this fear is founded as illnesses and diseases are common, the issue concerns all readers, which brought me to read your article.

Furthermore, each relevant term or concept was attributed a definition with sufficient detail, which allowed a deepened understanding. This was helpful when trying to grasp the two contrasting ethical positions, Utilitarianism and Kant’s ethics. In fact, the comparison of a Utilitarian view and Kant’s opinion brought creative and contrasting arguments to the ethical issue, which has been discussed in the media quite often. In fact, whereas Utilitarians reveals arguments based on the consequence of euthanasia on the person’s happiness, Kant considers the utmost importance of their opinion in the decision-making process. Control over one’s life and avoiding suffering are two arguments that rarely contradict each other as one’s decisions usually leads to their happiness. However, in the case of involuntary euthanasia, one’s control over their lives is compromised. This is interesting as it evokes an uncommon dilemma in the reader’s mind on whether one’s free will should be prioritized over happiness.

The ethical views on the issue were detailed and clear, yet some readers could have questioned how consent is evaluated when considering involuntary euthanasia. The degree of awareness of an individual could change a Utilitarian point of view, especially if the individual on which euthanasia is being performed is conscious to a certain extent and, for instance, dies in suffering as he did not get to bid farewell to his loved ones. This situation would also give more weight to Kant’s opinion based on euthanasia being unethical as the patient is considered as a means to an end as he or he cannot apply his freedom of will. For further enlightenment on consciousness in various mental states, I suggest “Disorders of Consciousness: Brain Death, Coma, and the Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States”, written by Thomas I. Cochrane and Michael A. Williams. This article, whose link is at the bottom of the article, presents a realistic medical scenario to illustrate various stages of consciousness. Then, they define the terms “wakefulness, awareness, consciousness, coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, and brain death”, which are especially important to consider in involuntary euthanasia. First off, they define consciousness as a combination of wakefulness and awareness, where are respectively depend on the response to stimuli treated by the “reticular activating system” and on one’s ability to “think and perceive”, such as responding to a command, through the neurons situated at the surface and in the grey matter of the brain. They then describe the levels of consciousness of an individual in a coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state as well as the possible duration and outcomes of such conscious states. For instance, one could evolve from a coma, to a vegetative state to minimally conscious, which presents an increase of consciousness, whereas one could also evolve from a coma to brain dead. A specific condition worth considering is the vegetative state, where one is awake, which is usually perceived as conscious, but does not commit any purposeful actions beyond reflexes. In this nuanced situation, would Kant still consider the individual’s thought process as worthy of consideration in their choice between life and death?

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